The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Article #621 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11/26/2002
Posting date: 4/21/2003

A man tries to discover what caused the death of his sister, and uncovers a horrible tale of torture and infidelity.

The last twenty minutes of this movie are great and memorable; I just wish the hour that leads up to this part of the movie were as good. Since the story on which the movie was based is short and compact, I’m not surprised that it needed to be fleshed out to make a full-length movie; I just wish they hadn’t borrowed quite so much from “The Fall of the House of Usher” to do so, especially as Corman had just directed a version of that story the previous year. It also doesn’t help that the actor who plays the brother is singularly dull, generally delivering his lines in a slow monotone punctuated with “meaningful” pauses; unfortunately, it is his character that drives the story in the first part of the movie, so we see an awful lot of him and not near enough of Vincent Price or Barbara Steele. Still, that last twenty minutes is strong enough to make the wait worth it, and though this will probably not be my favorite of the Corman Poe movies, it is a worthy entry to the series.


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